South Carolina Equal Pay/Comparable Worth laws & HR compliance analysis

South Carolina Equal Pay/Comparable Worth: What you need to know

The South Carolina Human Affairs Law prohibits employment discrimination with respect to an individual's compensation because of the individual's race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, or disability (SC Code Sec. 1-13-80). The Law applies to public employers and private employers with 15 or more employees, including unions and employment agencies.
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Wage differentials are permissible when they are based on:
• A bona fide seniority or merit system
• A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production
• Different work locations
• Exceptions authorized under the federal Equal Pay Act
The South Carolina Human Affairs Commission enforces the Human Affairs Law. The Commission has the authority to receive, investigate, and settle discrimination complaints. It is also authorized to conduct administrative hearings of discrimination claims and bring lawsuits in state court on behalf of individuals alleging discrimination.
Decisions of the Commission are appealable to the South Carolina court system by either the employer or the employee. After exhausting administrative remedies, individuals alleging discrimination can bring private lawsuits in state court to enforce their rights under the law.
Under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the federal fair employment laws were amended so that each paycheck affected by an employer's prior discriminatory practice or decision constitutes an unlawful discriminatory act that triggers a new deadline for filing a pay discrimination claim. The employee alleging discrimination must be able to show that the paycheck or other compensation was affected by a past discriminatory act.

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